Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 731 - May 30, 2010

I received quite an honor today. The layout I posted the other day was named "Layout of the Week" over at Swirlydoos and Lisa, the person that posted about the honor had this to say:


A little over 2 years ago, Leslie Kammerdiener decided to start a blog...For reasons unknown to her at the time, but this is what she said...

Sunday, February 24, 2008
"Hellloooo!!! Is there anybody out there?
Hello and welcome to my blog! I am not really sure what kind of direction this thing is going to take, but I am looking forward to figuring it out.

To summarize my life, I am a single woman with two grown children. My daughter, Brianna (Breezy), is 23 and she works in an underground mines in a government position. My son also works for the government but in a totally different way - he is in the Army. Kevin is 19 and is currently stationed in Bamburg, Germany.

I, myself, work for Armstrong Cable in a small department that handles the back-side of billing operations. I enjoy my job for the most part, but there are days....

I am an avid reader and I enjoy scrapbooking as well. Traveling is one of my favorite things to do and I love to cook and bake.

This about sums me up so I am going to head off for now. My son is supposed to call me on Skype in a few minutes and I want to get all set up. Gotta get that webcam operating, lol!"


Sounds like a pretty normal life to me!!! An all American normal family living an all American normal life!!!...But today, Leslie's life is anything but normal. And I know she would not mind me sharing her story...

You see, Leslie's life turned upside down in May of 2008 when she got shocking news about her son Kevin. Kevin was in a NATO convoy driving through the city of Jalalabad in Afghanistan on May 31. A suicide bomber filled a vehicle with explosives and drove it into her son's Humvee. Leslie did not know that there were 4 people in the Humvee. Both her son and his battle buddy survived the blast - the other two did not. Kevin was pulled from the wreckage and rushed to a hospital in Jalalabad. He has since been flown back to Germany and is now on this way to San Antonio, TX to a military burn unit. His injuries were extensive, they didn't know if he would make it.

That was the beginning of Leslie, Brianna, and Kevin's life...It has been forever changed. Leslie's story is one of war, courage, honor and love....Oh, the love...In honor of Kevin, and all those who serve our country to keep us safe...We salute you...We pray for you, and we too will defend your honor...

Happy Memorial Day...

End Quote

I just don't know what to say. Obviously it's an honor to be named LOTW, but you see...tomorrow is the second anniversary of this horrific event. Tomorrow, May 31, two years ago, both James and Andrew perished. Kevin and Daniel survived only to have to fight life long battles to recover and to sustain some quality of life.

And all of our lives changed. My family's, Andrew's family's, James' family's and Dan's family's. Not to mention all of our friends and their families and all of everyone who any of these boys' lives have ever touched.


When I read that post and it quoted what I wrote way back in the day I had to say to myself 'Did I write that? Was my life ever that normal?'. As time goes by, it gets harder and harder to remember what normal is. It gets harder and harder to remember those days. I suppose it's best though as it makes the loss much easier to deal with.

But still...on a day like today, I'm glad that Lisa reminded me of my previous life. It gave me pause to think of what Kevin was like before - always joking, speeding all over the place on that skateboard and in high gear at all times. It made me think of Breezy and how quick she was to smile bright and how she was always out with someone, doing gosh knows what. And it made me remember myself being out with Moe and Jen and the girls. I gave thought to all the friends I had at work and how I felt good that my kids had grown up and were moving on.

Truthfully, I would say that the three of us were doing pretty damn well.

Now though? Now life is so drastically different for all of us. I suppose I could focus on the negs - no freedom, no friends, no income, no spontaneity, no feeling that everything is ok in your world, always having to be on alert, never knowing what state you're in, living in hospitals and hotel rooms and temporary apartments, having to fight for everything, blah blah blah.

But you know me ;-) I still can't help but feel lucky too. I can't imagine what the Shields and Finleys felt. I can't imagine opening the door to uniformed men/women and being told that my son had died. Yes, our lives do mostly stink, but to never hug my baby again, to never get to sing 'Happy Birthday', to never see his smile and to never hear the words "I love you" come from his lips?

No. We are the lucky ones. And my heart completely goes out to the Finley and the Shields families.

Rest In Peace Andrew and James...


LISA said...

Thank you for allowing me the honor to tell your families story. You, and Kevin and Breezy are in my prayers tonight. I can only imagine how hard this day is for you and the ones you love. And so my tears are not ones of only sadness, but of happiness. Happy to know you still have Kevin to hold, happy to know that life although, not the one you imagined for him, but life is still in him. He is obviously a fighter, other wise he would not be here today. I pray for the ones who fought and are not here today. My heart goes out to those families who have only a memory of their loved ones. How hard this day must be. And as my daughter prepares for the military life, I am proud, and at the same time, it scares me to death. Leslie, I don't know what to say...You are an angel...All I can do is offer my support and pray. Happy Memorial Day...{{hugs}}

GrannieEv said...

From this lucky military mom, God bless each of you.

Lisa aka Raining said...

God bless you and your family. My heart goes out to you all.

Linda said...

Leslie, Breezy, and Kevin,
My heart and prayers go out to your family today on this anniversary of Kevins accident! Yes, though you go thru so many trials and things with Kevins still have him to love...Kevin and have a wonderful, strong and courageous mother! My hat goes off to the whole family!!

Anonymous said...

Leslie, I never met you or your family,but, I love you. Thank You Kevin!!!!! You and all the military people are my HEROES. God Bless all of you.

Anonymous said...

"Hugs" to all of you! Thank you so much for everything you do each day. We appreciate you so much! The pictures were great! :)
Happy Memorial Day!
Take care,
Kathy in IA

Judy B said...

Again the word that comes to my mind when I think of you and your story is "GRACE"!!! You handle all of this with such Grace!!! God bless you Leslie!!!

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you on this special day.

Anonymous said...

Leslie, Kevin and Breezy,
You 3 have touched my life in so many ways. I love the picts. of all of you. I feel such a connection to you, though we would never have meet under "normal" circumstances. Thank you all for your selfless sacrifices and inspiration. May you live well, love and be loved much, laugh often and shed tears of joy more than tears of sorrow.
Love and Prayers...Janet

Patricia said...

Leslie, Kevin and Breezy, and now the littlest member on the way ~ I celebrate today for many of my own personal reasons, but woven into that fabric of thankfulness and cherished memory are all of you.

Leslie, as we have said before, the soul revisits the pain, and we are surprised by it. But the healing Grace of God and our minds, allow us a small reprieve caused by the passage of time.

As those around the Nation, give thanks for the sacrifice made by millions, over the years, my thoughts are with you, and those I know suffered the greatest sacrifice.

Blessings and love and kisses and prayers, may they all abide with you today and always...

bearlythr said...

We are in Angel Fire NM minutes away from the DAV Memorial. The memorial sits on a hill and is shaped like the soaring wings of an eagle. Stark but beautiful, it is a place of healing and peace for veterans. Maybe someday you can come visit when the new normal allows it.
It is a hard thing to look back...hard to accept all that was lost on that day two years ago. But you are indeed blessed....Kevin is alive and moving forward. Yes, there have been many setbacks on this journey but all of you have met those challenges straight on.
You Leslie, are a warrior too. Fighting for Kevin, never giving up, giving out or giving in. I pray for your continued strength, expecially on those days when you feel like you cant take one more second of the stress. I pray for peace when all hell is breaking loose around you and I pray that God continues to work in Kevin's life as he heals. Many are with you in spirit and love your family as our own.
On this Memorial Day we are truly grateful for the sacrifices of our heros ....THANK YOU Kevin for all you have given so that we remain free. God bless you and your family and all those who have paid such a high price for our sake. God bless and keep you all.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Leslie. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Thank you for sharing your hero with us. Thank you for showing us what determination, grace and hope look like. Thinking of you today and every day.

Lisa D in Cali

Anonymous said...

As we remember those who have fallen on this Memorial Day, .....remember too those that are still in the fight, with bullets whizzing past their heads, and always thinking that someone wants them dead. It is horrific what our military endures....PRAY FOR THEM!

LESLIE, you will always be a hero to me....for your personal self sacrifice and your amazing love for your son and daughter. I'm hoping that today brings some sense of accomplishment for how far you've come and that you perceive the genuine encouragement that comes your way each day through this blog. We all hold Kevin in high esteem for his continual struggle to be well after his horrific injuries in fighting for our country. THANK YOU KEVIN.

For the families of the brave fallen, we remember their sacrifice and yours.....


Peggy said...

A special thanks today for some very special Americans who sacrifice so much so that the rest of us can live in freedom.

Leslie, my heart goes out in gratitude to you, Kevin, and Brianna, as well as the families of those who served with your son.

Please give a special hug to Kevin...

Jodi said...

Wow, what an amazing article.

I don't think there is a "normal" anymore Les. All our lives were turned upside down 2 years ago today. I'd give anything to have Andrew back, standing tall in front of me with that HUGE smile he ALWAYS had. But it wasn't meant to be. Then every day I read the struggles you and Kevin and Breezy go thru and all I want to do is have Kevin stand in front of me with that wicked smile of his. It warms my heart when I see pictures of him smiling. I want to be able to hug all of you and share laughs and tears with you. Kevin is a HERO. A true American Hero! I feel so lucky to "know" Kevin and you and Breezy. I wish things were better for all of you, but Kevin has come such a long way from May 31, 2008.

Our lives have forever changed Les, but we are still here, and have to make the best of what we have. I am so grateful that you and Kevin and Breezy are a "part" of my life. Someday we will meet in person, and I cannot wait for that special day.

I love you three. Please keep your chin up and never stop smiling. You all have beautiful smiles that light up my day.

Thank you Kevin for you service and sacrifice. You are my hero.

Thank you Leslie and Breezy for your sacrifice. I know you'd rather not be thanked and have things the way they were, but I can't turn back time for us and make it better. God knows I wish I could, but I can't. So we all need to keep looking forward and keep going. You are an amazing family and I know you will survive.

I hope you have a great day today.

And a BIG THANK YOU to all soldiers, veterans, and military families for there services and sacrifices.

Andrew's Aunt Jodi

Tracey from Pgh. said...


Thinking of you and your family especially on this special day.

craftysprinkles said...

I read several posts starting from your very first one and skipping around to the current ones. I found all of them so compelling and I was so drawn into your emotional state. You can write a book from all of your posts and I think it's incredible. My prayers will continue to go out to you and to all the other soldiers that fight in honor of our country every day. Prayers to moms like you that are the reason why we have such amazing men that put their lives on the line for what is right. God bless you and your family!!

Jessica said...

I'm thinking of you and your family, and the other three families affected by that awful day just two years ago. Kevin may be out of the war and the army but he's still a soldier in my mind, fighting a battle of his own. God bless him for his strength and courage to persevere. And God bless you and Breezy for giving up your own lives to give him that strength.

Congratulations to Breezy! I hope the new little one will bring that quick smile back to her face.

Thanks for sharing your blog so publicly. It's a privilege and an honor to be allowed into your private lives this way and get to "know" you all. Kevin has no idea what an inspiration he is to so many people, myself included!

You're in my thoughts and in my prayers. I know today's a tough one. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Leslie- I drive across an Interstate Overpass in Lebanon, MO several times each month - tonight I finally realized it is named in honor of the James who was with Kevin. It was one way that the State of Missouri and James' hometown could honor James.
That knowledge does not take away the pain that our wounded/surviving soldiers (and their family members) experience and struggle with nor the pain of the family members that must continue living without their beloved soldiers. It does however give me the opportunity to say a special prayer for all of our service members and their families. Without brave and determined service members and their families we would not have freedom. Thank you Kevin - you are still a beacon of light that allows our counry to be strong. Thank you Leslie and Breezy for being Kevin's support system.